Shoppers Indicate They Will Turn to Small Businesses for the Holidays

Across the country, many of the best-known companies are already well-prepared for the holiday shopping season, but it seems that small businesses will have to get a jump on this hectic time as well. Today, a larger number of shoppers say they’re planning to patronize locally-owned companies in the coming months.

About 35 percent of all Americans say they’re planning to go to a small business for at least some of their holiday shopping efforts this year, up from 27 percent in 2012, according to a new survey from Deluxe. Of those polled, 95 percent said that they think it’s important to support small business, but the reasons why they were choosing to shop at these outlets, rather than bigger, better-known stores, was varied.

For instance, nearly half said that these companies offer unique merchandise that they couldn’t get elsewhere, and close to two in five cited their ability to get superior service compared with that offered by larger competitors, the report said. Another quarter said that they though they could find good prices for the items they wanted to buy through a small business.

“Small businesses should be very encouraged by the results of Deluxe Annual Holiday Shopping Survey,” said Tim Carroll, vice president of small business engagement at Deluxe. “Since shoppers increasingly use technology to plan and fulfill their holiday shopping needs, small businesses must leverage that same technology to remain top-of-mind and drive sales.”

In fact, more than three-quarters of consumers say they’re going to shop for at least some holiday gifts online this year, and 28 percent said they’d prefer to do so through small businesses’ websites, the report said. This is particularly true of the younger generation, of whom 54 percent will search for holiday gifts using search engines. More than half also said they probably won’t go beyond the first two pages of the search results they receive. Interestingly, 42 percent of those polled also said they planned to buy most of their gifts prior to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, indicating small businesses may need to prepare for a rush as soon as possible.

Owners hoping to shore up their finances in other ways might also want to think about the ways in which they can reduce costs, such as by finding more affordable small business insurance. This may serve to reduce premiums for things like liability insurance and other types of coverage by as much as thousands of dollars per year.